Tuesday Update

Roger Peng

If you weren’t sick of Theranos yet….

Looks like there will be a movie version of the Theranos saga which, as far as I can tell, isn’t over yet, but no matter. It will be done by Adam McKay, the writer-director of The Big Short (excellent film), and will star Jennifer Lawrence as Elizabeth Holmes. From Vanity Fair:

Legendary Pictures snapped up rights to the hot-button biopic for a reported $3 million Thursday evening, after outbidding and outlasting a swarm of competition from Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, STX Entertainment, Regency Enterprises, Cross Creek, Amazon Studios, AG Capital, the Weinstein Company, and, in the penultimate stretch, Paramount, among other studio suitors.

Based on a book proposal by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Carreyrou titled Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in Silicon Valley, the project (reported to be in the $40 million to $50 million budget range) has made the rounds to almost every studio in town. It’s been personally pitched by McKay, who won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for last year’s rollicking financial meltdown procedural The Big Short.

Frankly, I think we all know how this movie will end.

The People vs. OJ Simpson vs….Statistics

I’m in the middle of watching The People vs. OJ Simpson and so far it is fantastic—I highly recommend it. One thing that is not represented in the show is the important role that statistics played in the trial. The trial was just in the early days of using DNA as evidence in criminal trials and there were many questions about how likely it was to find DNA matches in blood.

Terry Speed ended up testifying for the defense (Simpson) and in this nice interview, he explains how that came to be:

At the beginning of the Simpson trial, there was going to be a pre-trial hearing and experts from both sides would argue in front of the judge as to what approaches should be accepted. Other pre-trial activities dragged on, and the one on DNA forensics was eventually scrapped. The DNA experts, including me were then asked whether they wanted to give evidence for the prosecution or defence, or leave. I did not initially plan to join the defence team, but wished to express my point of view in what was more or less a scientific environment before the trial started, but when the pre-trial DNA hearing was scrapped, I decided that I had no choice but to express my views in court on behalf of the defence, which I did.

The full interview is well worth the read.

AI is the residual

I just recently found out about the AI effect which I thought was interesting. Basically, “AI” is whatever can’t be explained, or in other words, the residuals of machine learning.